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Harvesting Beats

A review of Szentek at the Silo 2023

Saturday 11/11 had an end-of-semester, free-for-all all kind of feel. Which, thank god, is exactly what we all needed to shake the November blues that have been creeping in ever since it started getting dark at 4pm. I, alongside the majority of the student body, packed onto the ever-reliable coaches on South Street, students clutching at poorly mixed bottles of their chosen poison for the night, perhaps a few too many already having taken pres a bit too far. I have to give it to Szentek, byob is definitely the way to pique the interest of students – £14 for a double at other events is practically London standard.

It is clear that Szentek has found a niche in which they had invested in to re-up interest in both their collective and brand. Even last year, Szentek struggled desperately to tout tickets for their Falside Mill event, perhaps due to the unpopular lineup and a lack of recognition from a new generation of St Andrews students. The refreshing and unique change of venue was welcomed wholeheartedly, evident in the rapid sell-out of tickets this year. And Szentek themselves did a stellar job at breathing a new life into the old abandoned grain silo. Some say the venue makes the rave, and the silo was a fantastic choice for an event of this calibre. Inside, the funky, vibrant tapestries which adorned pillars and the fusion of decorative psychedelia and the brutalism of the concrete silo only contributed to the atmosphere.

Szentek’s resident DJs opened the night with a cold selection of electro tunes, hyping up the crowd for the guests about to follow. Highlights included melba, a Newcastle-based act, who effortlessly wove techno together, much to the delight of the now steadily growing crowd. Neffa-T, the headliner, offered ravers the experience of his razor-sharp mixing, clearly forward-thinking in his unwaveringly skilful and dynamic exploration spanning various genres: from heavier 140 to bright, bouncier techno, it’s no wonder he is globally recognised for his artistry behind the decks. For most of the crowd, I’m sure his genre-defying wizardry was one of the highlights of the evening.

I also appreciate the handling of logistics by Szentek. At events such as a high-calibre rave, on an industrial estate far out of St Andrews, the safety of the usually well-meaning partygoers is, of course, of utmost importance. Security was abundant, and free water stations were provided for every sensible raver to hydrate with. The collective also included a szen-area: a space filled with art and sculpture for those looking to chill out – although inside the silo, next to the booming sound system was probably not the ideal placement. Saints Sizzle also sold burgers and fries at the event, a welcome alternative to the trek to Big Boss after-hours.

When Szentek kindly invited me to their set-up day, it was clear that – while the collective wasn’t exactly a well-oiled machine, they were a family: clearly caring for one another and for the synergistic good of the rave. In my opinion, what truly set this event apart from the rest was the theatricality of the whole situation – it’s not every day hundreds of uni students descend on an abandoned grain silo in a forgotten corner of Scotland to dance the night away. And this sentiment must truly have echoed through the revellers, as, for once, it seemed as though all inhibition fell away. An avenue for liberation was found amongst that thumping bass – one I don’t think Cupar Grain Silo has seen in a long time.

Photo: Ana Diakolios

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